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Shelley Ross Saxer

Laure Sudreau Endowed Professor of Law
Caruso School of Law


While in law school, Professor Saxer served as the chief managing editor of the UCLA Law Review. Upon graduation, she clerked for the Honorable Wm. Matthew Byrne, Jr. of the Federal District Court for the Central District of California and then worked briefly as a corporate associate for the Century City law offices of O'Melveny & Myers.

She has published articles dealing with topics including determining whether certain claims to rights, such as liquor licenses and water rights, are protectable as property, protecting religious freedom and First Amendment rights for land uses including religious institutions, adult businesses, and signs, using nuisance litigation rather than legislative regulation when zoning conflicts with First Amendment rights, applying the state action doctrine to the judicial resolution of common law claims, disclosing sex offenders and criminal activity in the context of real estate transactions and restricting the location of sex offenders in a community, controlling local government abuse in exercising its eminent domain and police powers, using inverse condemnation and state damages clauses to spread the burden of providing public benefits when individual property owners are negatively impacted, particularly from disasters, eschewing the use of “necessity” defenses to constitutional claims such as Takings.

Professor Saxer is a co-author of Contemporary Property, American Casebook Series, Thomson West (5th ed. with Colleen Medill, Grant S. Nelson, and Dale A. Whitman) and a co-author of Land Use, American Casebook Series, Thomson West (8th ed. with David L. Callies, Robert H. Freilich, and Ashira Pelman Ostrow). She is co-author of Social-Ecological Resilience and Sustainability, Aspen Coursebook series, Wolters Kluwer (with Jonathan Rosenbloom).

Since joining the Pepperdine faculty in 1991, she has taught courses in real property, land use, community property, remedies, environmental law, water law, negotiation, and social-ecological resilience and sustainability. Professor Saxer served as the Chair-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, and Executive Committee member of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) State and Local Government Law Section from 2019 to 2023. She also served as the Chair, Chair-Elect, Secretary, and Executive Committee member of the AALS Property Section between 2009 and 2012. She was on the Board of Directors for the Association for Law, Property, and Society (ALPS) in 2013 and 2014 and was the Program Committee Co-Chair for the 2014 ALPS conference held at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

Professor Saxer is a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL)  and a member of the Order of the Coif, the American Bar Association, and the California State Bar. She has also been admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.


  • J.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1989
  • B.S., Pepperdine University, 1980, summa cum laude


Forthcoming Articles 

  • Shelley Ross Saxer, Owning Church Property, FLA. ST. U. L. REV.  (forthcoming 2024) SSRN



Book Chapters

Popular Press



  • Land Use 
  • Property
  • Environmental Law
  • Social-Ecological Resilience and Sustainability
  • Negotiation
  • Water Law